Your vagina is amazing. It’s home to millions of micro-organisms, and when conditions are right, they remain in perfect balance. Even small changes to our bodies such as shifts in hormone levels, can disrupt this balance and trigger Bacterial Vaginosis (BV).
Your vagina is home to a species of bacteria, lactobacillus, which produces lactic acid and help to control the growth of other more harmful micro-organisms. If these deplete, your vagina can become less acidic and more prone to infections such as BV. Studies have shown that during and after going through the menopause, the level of lactobacillus in the vagina decreases, and the vaginal pH becomes less acidic, increasing the risk of infections, discomfort, dryness and inflammation.
Typical symptoms of BV include:
- A fishy smelling discharge
- A thin, watery or grey discharge
- Discomfort brought on by abnormal discharge.
BV can be triggered by a number of day to day things such as:
- Washing with perfumed soaps, or douching (don’t go there)
- Sex without a condom, because semen is alkali and your vagina wants to be slightly acidic. Many women forego condoms after the menopause, but if you find you are experiencing BV symptoms after sex, it could be worth considering.
- Lubricants – many women also experience vaginal dryness after the menopause, and lubricants can help alleviate this. However some lubricants can alter the natural pH in your vagina, so check the packaging to see if your lubricant states it is pH balanced. You can ask your pharmacist or healthcare professional if you’re not sure.
If you think you have BV your doctor or pharmacist can prescribe you antibiotics, but these in themselves can affect the balance in your vagina.
You can also try a treatment such as Balance Activ which you can buy online or from your pharmacist. Balance Activ has been clinically proven to treat and prevent bacterial vaginosis. It contains lactic acid and glycogen, which balance the vagina and encourage the growth of protective lactobacillus in your vagina.
Read more about Balance Activ and BV in our FAQ section here.